While many focus on the cognitive effects of dementia, there are also prominent physical changes. The most notably changes being in gait, balance, coordination, proprioception, and vision. Often, staff wish to preserve the safety of patients with dementia by limiting their independent mobility and ambulation, but are we truly protecting these individuals?

 

Randomized controlled trials of patients with dementia or mild cognitive impairment have observed improved cognitive scores after six to 12 months of aerobic exercise compared to a sedentary control group. Additionally, aerobic activity has shown reductions in fracture risk and mortality, as well as secondary diagnoses associated with dementia such as depression, anxiety, and behavioral management.

 

Positive effects of exercise have also been observed in individuals with dementia who have already begun to experience negative physical effects. Toulotte et all studied the impact of physical exercise on frail patients with dementia and a history of falls. The group who received physical training was noted to have improved walking, flexibility, balance, and a reduction in falls.

By: Jake Brassard, PharmD candidate 2021

For the full article, please visit: https://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/archive/MA18p14.shtml

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